Berlin: Talks between French President
Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel scheduled on Monday in Berlin have been cancelled, the French embassy
said, without offering further details.
The pair had been due to hold preparatory talks for a
summit of European Union leaders on June 17 in Brussels,
focusing mainly on the topic of European economic
The run-up to the planned talks had been marked by
disagreements between the two European allies, following
frequent clashes over multi-billion-euro (dollar) bailout
packages for Greece and then the wider eurozone.
Paris had blamed Berlin for dragging its feet over a near
trillion-dollar plan drawn up to prevent Greece`s fiscal woes
from spreading to other vulnerable countries, saying that it
pushed up the price of the package.
French officials grumbled that in January, the rescue
plan would have cost 15 billion euros versus the around 750
billion euros that were ultimately earmarked.
Moreover, when the plan was eventually agreed, Sarkozy
announced to the press that it was "95 per cent French," a
claim that set off gnashing of teeth in Berlin.
Other rows over economic policy, notably a plea by French
Finance Minister Christine Lagarde for Germany to reduce its
reliance on exports and boost domestic demand to help the rest
of the euro area, added to the tensions.